Define the scope of the test, and roles & responsibilities (i.e. who tests what) as there are many different flavors of tests. As the application functionality will not change by the IT room relocation/migration/consolidation project, typical application test methodology does not apply.
Following examples of the tests that should be considered:
- Validate the new infrastructure (i.e., new SAN, new network, new DNS server, new IP address, etc.)
- Performance test (due to the location difference, performance may change)
- Security test
- System interface test
- Business to business interface test
- End user experience test
Develop the test approach and test plans for all aspects of testing across the entire lifecycle of the project.
Importance of Testing
For those without experience in this domain, it may appear as if moving/building infrastructure at a target IT room is predominantly about hardware infrastructure. However, it’s all about the applications. Business runs on the applications that reside in a IT room. The goal is to ensure that there are no impacts to the functionality of the applications and to minimise the downtime of business-critical applications. It is absolutely imperative that a proper test strategy is developed along with the migration strategy and adequate funds and resources are allocated.
What to Test?
The testing effort is focused on validating all infrastructure components, application operability and functionality. Regardless of type of migration that the organisation may choose, areas mentioned above must be tested thoroughly. The table below gives an overview of what is typically covered under each area.
- Operating System, Network, OSS, storage and back up
- Done by the relevant technical resources
- Application components, configuration and connectivity
- Application health and sanity checks
- Done by the Operation team
- Functional and Nonfunctional testing
- Typically includes E2E business scenarios
- Done by the business users and/or professional testers
In IT room migration projects, the aim of testing is not to find defects in the software but to ensure that applications are functioning ‘as is’ and there is no impact to the business. Therefore, it’s extremely important to develop a fit for purpose test approach based on the following principles:
- Perform pre-migration testing before infrastructure equipment is migrated in order to form a ‘baseline’ on infrastructure, applications operability, functionality and performance. Any issues found during pre-migration testing are resolved or accepted by the business. The same test cases are executed post migration and results are compared with the baseline. Pre-migration testing offers best insurance against any production breakage.
- Ensure redundancy – Often mission critical applications are designed to have redundancy i.e. Server level, site level. In these cases, it is important to test the failover scenarios to ensure that application redundancy is maintained.
- Understand the application architecture – upstream applications, downstream applications and any dependencies. Applications residing in non-production environments may not have production-like connectivity. As such, the test approach may slightly differ for production and non-production environments.
- Leverage cost and time efficiencies by:
- Using existing business as usual (BAU) validation elements.
- Adopting a risk based approach to testing by collaborating with the business specialists to identify the highly valued, critical business components/functionality. Based on this information prioritisation of testing can be agreed. Test coverage decisions can be made on the basis of acceptable risks using pragmatic judgement.
- Utilizing the existing knowledge base of the organisation’s test and business experts and, where possible, reusing the test cases that are already in place.
- Employ early planning and upfront stakeholder agreement by:
- Developing test planning documentation, including detailed application test entry, exit and acceptance criteria for each application/migration group.
- Socializing test plans with all stakeholders.
- Adopt continuous process improvement (CPI) to continually build upon efficiencies in the test process and to increase the overall quality for the program of work.
Embrace a collaborative testing effort between applications and infrastructure to facilitate early detection of issues. Follow a test approach that matches the type of migration. For example; In ‘Lift and Shift’ type migration, testing is done pre- and post-migration. Where in ‘Physical/Virtual to Transformation’ type migration, infrastructure equipment and applications are available before the actual migration with testing occurring at that stage.
- Develop the test approach.
- Develop the individual test plans based on the migration approach.
Hints and tips
- The default test approach for an IT room migration is ‘Risk Based Testing’ based on ‘Points of Change’ – ensure that testing resources are familiar with these principles.
- Test plans should be derived from the ‘Risk Based Testing’ approach and focus on testing ‘what’s changed’ and what risks have been introduced – a leading practice is to workshop these risks – likelihood/severity – and mitigation with the client to obtain buy-in to this approach. It may be alien to their experience.